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DavidV

Merge: Rights, Property

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Yes, a patent must present all the details of the design and construction of the invention, including the "best method" of manufacturing it. In theory, a person of "ordinary skill" should be able to reproduce the invention strictly by reading the patent.

Now, you have a choice. You may choose to try and protect an invention by keeping it a trade secret. Trade secret law allows you, for example, to require employees to sign secrecy agreements under which they are prohibited from disclosing details of the invention to outsiders.

Trade secrets are a good way of protecting process inventions. For example, if you invent a better way of molding plastic, you can keep that a trade secret because your competitors cannot get inside your factory to see the method. But product inventions are too easily reverse engineered to protect this way.

So, the law is clear. Trade secrets or Patents -- but not both! Patents are public documents.

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You have changed your position here.

Before you said that we have a moral claim on our own ideas but that we specifically don't have a right to them.

I mean that you have a right to your ideas to the extent that they are yours and you can act on them. I do not extend this 'right' to prohibit other people from using my ideas (be they discoveries of creations). Lots of people can claim rights to the same idea once they all are in possession of it.

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You keep hearing about it because you have no answer for it.  Please clarify where you stand.  Should the law permit people like Curtis to copy people like the Wright Brothers?

Yes.

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I mean that you have a right to your ideas to the extent that they are yours and you can act on them.  ...

But rights don't tell you what you can do, they tell you what you can't do to others. They define the restrictions that apply to each individual.

If a 'right' doesn't protect you from anyone, then it is not a right. How would that right be infringed?

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There are ways to violate your ability to act on your best judgment, force for example. Someone initiating force on you is violating your right to act on your ideas.

So your right to your ideas means that no one else may initiate any action that stops you from acting in your best judgment. That is the sanction.

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...

Please clarify where you stand.  Should the law permit people like Curtis to copy people like the Wright Brothers?

I assume that you think the government should allow Orren Boyle to manufacture Rearden Metal. Does it not matter that one man created it and the other did nothing?

But why did you say the following:

We agree that a person has a right to whatever they create.

So, 'the fact of creation both does and does not grant the status of ownership/property/rights.'

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There are ways to violate your ability to act on your best judgment, force for example. Someone initiating force on you is violating your right to act on your ideas.

So your right to your ideas means that no one else may initiate any action that stops you from acting in your best judgment.  That is the sanction.

(Emphasis mine)

But they are not my ideas if I didn't create them. I do not own the ideas simply because I understand them. Creation is the root of ownership/property.

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I assume that you think the government should allow Orren Boyle to manufacture Rearden Metal.  Does it not matter that one man created it and the other did nothing? 

If Orren Boyle could have studied Readen Metal and come up with a way to produce it then the government should allow it. But remember Orren Boyle even turned out bad regular steal, the world of Atlas Shrugged was very irrational, in a rational society Orren Boyle might stay in business but would never provide any significant competition for someone like Hank Reardon. Someone with more integrity would probably not copy Rearden’s formula without his permission if he planned to compete with him, in the current system however the day Rearden’s patent would run out everyone would jump in on it with no reservations whatsoever, thus giving the government the responsibility and saving their own integrity.

So, 'the fact of creation both does and does not grant the status of ownership/property/rights.'
Because I am differentiating between what is created. So you have a right to anything you create, if you make some steel then you have full fledged property rights over it, if you make a new invention then you obviously have your right to the idea you created that made the invention possible, but unlike the steal, the idea that you created can not be protected from parasites if you intend to shout it out (aka sell it on an open market).

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Because I am differentiating between what is created.  So you have a right to anything you create, if you make some steel then you have full fledged property rights over it, if you make a new invention then you obviously have your right to the idea you created that made the invention possible, but unlike the steal, the idea that you created can not be protected from parasites if you intend to shout it out (aka sell it on an open market).

If its physical, then you have a right to it and the government will protect you from those who would steal it.

If its intellectual, then you have a right to it, but the government will not protect you from those who would steal it.

What is the point of saying someone has a right to a created idea, but barring the government from enforcing that right. If it is a right, then it is THEIRS, and it is up to them to set the terms of use and disposal. The government's job is to enforce those terms.

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But they are not my ideas if I didn't create them.  I do not own the ideas simply because I understand them.  Creation is the root of ownership/property.

The ides are yours because you understand them and act on them. All the ideas you have buzzing around in your brain are yours and no one can take them away from you. Just because you didn't create all of your ideas doesn't mean you do not have a right to act on them. What gives you the right to act on any of Ayn Rand’s ideas? (go ahead and say you paid for her books if you must).

So creation is the root of ownership/property. If you apply this to what I am saying then you would realize that creating an idea is in fact the only way to have explicit ownership over it*. In other words creating an idea and keeping it to yourself is the only way to guarantee that it will remain yours and only yours*. Once other people become aware of the idea you created you have no right to stop them from acting on their discovery of your new idea.

So in fact you can only have exclusive ownership over an idea you create, you have a right however to act on all of your ideas, created and discovered - original and non-original, alike. I said right which means absolute, other moral principles would be taken into consideration.

*so long as no one else reaches it independently

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If its physical, then you have a right to it and the government will protect you from those who would steal it.

If its intellectual, then you have a right to it, but the government will not protect you from those who would steal it.

If it's physical then it is in stealing.

If it's intellectual then it is copying*.

*An idea can be copied with no initiation of force; I'm not talking about trespassing or breaking contracts with employers.

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The ideas are yours because you understand them and act on them.  All the ideas you have buzzing around in your brain are yours and no one can take them away from you.

How is this any different that saying, such and such piece of physical value (in place of intellectual value) is yours because your holding it in your hands (in place of holding it in your head). POSSESSION is not the root of ownership, creation is.

Just because you didn't create all of your ideas doesn't mean you do not have a right to act on them.  What gives you the right to act on any of Ayn Rand’s ideas? (go ahead and say you paid for her books if you must).

Because principles can not be owned, property status does not apply. Ayn Rand pointed at various aspects of reality through her writing, I looked in that direction and I saw for myself what she was pointing at. DISCOVERIES CAN NOT BE PROPERTY, OWNED, OR PATENTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D Honestly, how many times must I repeat myself on this point.

So creation is the root of ownership/property.  If you apply this to what I am saying then you would realize that creating an idea is in fact the only way to have explicit ownership over it*. In other words creating an idea and keeping it to yourself is the only way to guarantee that it will remain yours and only yours*.  Once other people become aware of the idea you created you have no right to stop them from acting on their discovery of your new idea.
So your saying that the idea is your by right, untill you start interacting with other people. But again, remember that ownership, property, rights are irrelevent to someone living in isolation. A 'right' to something, as long as you keep it to yourself doesn't make any sense.

Its like saying the government will recognize your physical property rights, as long as you keep them tucked away in your safe.

It makes it awfully difficult to interact with other people if these were the rules.

So in fact you can only have exclusive ownership over an idea you create, you have a right however to act on all of your ideas, created and discovered - original and non-original, alike.  I said right which means absolute, other moral principles would be taken into consideration.

Again, your talking about ownership of created ideas that go unprotected. 'It's your idea (becuase you created it), but no one will stop anyone from stealing it'.

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If it's physical then it is in stealing.

If it's intellectual then it is copying*.

*An idea can be copied with no initiation of force; I'm not talking about trespassing or breaking contracts with employers.

If you are in contact with, or in any way using, the property (creation) of another person without their consent, then you are initiating force against them.

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*An idea can be copied with no initiation of force; I'm not talking about trespassing or breaking contracts with employers.
Any unauthorized use of my property constitutes the initiation of force. Whether it is stealing my car, trespassing on my land or copying my invention, all are actions taken to acquire that which I will not voluntarily give -- namely, the use of my property.

If you get something from me without my consent, you have initiated the use of force.

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The fundamental issue is the ownership of an idea

One cannot own an idea. Ownership and property are concepts that apply only to physical things.

"Intellectual property" means physical things that embody ideas such that they would not exist as what they are without the ideas. It was ideas that made the Wright Brothers airplane into a physical thing that could fly. It is the ideas in Atlas Shrugged that make it valuable as more than a paper weight.

Intellectual property refers to physical things, like airplanes and books, brought into existence by someone's mental efforts which owe their physical existence to their inventor or creator. He made them possible.

A farmer has the right to decide to whom and at what price he will sell the fruits of his fields because those fruits would not exist without the farmer. Likewise, an inventor, writer, or artist has the right to decide to whom and at what price he will sell the physical embodiments of the ideas he has produced. All those physical embodiments belong to him and not to whoever wants to copy his invention, book, music, design, or artwork.

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Thank you all very much for putting up with me. I need to step back and re-evaluate my stance on this issue, which is something I can’t do while I am defending. Andrew, sorry for giving you a hard time, but I always will. Betsy, you have a nice ratio of content to words, I like it. Marc, you can grin and nod if you want. While I am going to become more of a passive participator of this thread I hope that you all pursue some of the questions Andrew has brought up, including the original ones. ~ Alex

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One cannot own an idea.  Ownership and property are concepts that apply only to physical things.

"Intellectual property" means physical things that embody ideas such that they would not exist as what they are without the ideas.  It was ideas that made the Wright Brothers airplane into a physical thing that could fly.  It is the ideas in Atlas Shrugged that make it valuable as more than a paper weight.

Intellectual property refers to physical things, like airplanes and books, brought into existence by someone's mental efforts which owe their physical existence to their inventor or creator.  He made them possible

A farmer has the right to decide to whom and at what price he will sell the fruits of his fields because those fruits would not exist without the farmer.  Likewise, an inventor, writer, or artist has the right to decide to whom and at what price he will sell the physical embodiments of the ideas he has produced. All those physical embodiments belong to him and not to whoever wants to copy his invention, book, music, design, or artwork.

I am not quite understanding what you mean here.

The Wright Brothers used the idea of wing design and wing warping to generate lift and turn the airplane.

Do you mean to say that this method was simply a discovery and anybody should be allowed to use this method even though it was the Wright Brothers who created it as this method is not a physical?

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I am not quite understanding what you mean here.

The Wright Brothers used the idea of wing design and wing warping to generate lift and turn the airplane.

Do you mean to say that this method was simply a discovery and anybody should be allowed to use this method even though it was the Wright Brothers who created it as this method is not a physical?

What I am saying is that any wing made in accordance with the Wright Brothers' design is the property of the Wright Brothers. Because they made such wings possible, they are the ones who may designate who may make and use such wings.

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What I am saying is that any wing made in accordance with the Wright Brothers' design is the property of the Wright Brothers. Because they made such wings possible, they are the ones who may designate who may make and use such wings.

Actually, the Wright Brothers' lawsuit against Glenn Curtiss is a perfect example of how patent law imposes a monopoly without protecting legitimate property rights. The wing design developed by Curtiss was substantially different than that of the Wright Brothers. While the Wrights used wing “warping” to control rolling and banking, Curtiss used ailerons, which are now standard throughout the aviation industry. Nonetheless, the federal courts “protected” the Wright Brothers against competition from a device they did not invent!

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The wing design developed by Curtiss was substantially different than that of the Wright Brothers. While the Wrights used wing “warping” to control rolling and banking, Curtiss used ailerons, which are now standard throughout the aviation industry. Nonetheless, the federal courts “protected” the Wright Brothers against competition from a device they did not invent!
No, this case illustrates precisely what inventors are up against.

Here is claim 1 of the Wright patent:

1. In a flying-machine, a normally flat aeroplane (a wing) having lateral marginal portions capable of movement to different positions above or blow the normal plane of the body of the aeroplane (the wing), such movement being about an axis transverse to the line of flight, whereby said lateral marginal portions may be moved to different angles relatively to the normal plane of the body of the aeroplane, so as to present to the atmosphere different angles of incidence, and means for so moving said lateral marginal portions, substantially as described.
What the Wrights had invented was the concept of using a variable-incidence surface to provide for roll control, said control proving to be crucial to the feasibility of a flying machine.

Curtis saw the brilliance of this and tried to get around the patent by having small, movable sections of the wing – ailerons -- that could that could be moved without “warping” the whole wing. But the patent clearly covers this; ailerons are in fact “lateral, marginal portions” of the wings. The patent was written this way because the Wright's had already envisioned other ways of implementing the principle of a variable-incidence surface. The term "wing warping" does not appear in the patent.

When the courts ruled against Curtis, he responded by putting his movable surfaces between the wings (his plane was a biplane like the Wrights). Since the movable surfaces in the Wright patent are described as being part of the wing, Curtis claimed this put his machine outside the scope of the Wright's patent.

This is typical. The Wrights developed the concept of achieving roll control through a variable-incidence, moveable surface. Curtis seizes on this concept and makes a minor change so that he can make us of the Wright's development.

Fortunately, for inventors, patent law recognizes the Doctrine of Equivalence. This Doctrine states that if a subsequent device achieves the same benefit in "substantially the same way" as the patented device, it is an infringement even if it differs in some details.

Of course, determining what constitutes "substantially the same way" is a matter of judgment and leads to many arguments. In the case of Curtis, he had been trying to build a flying machine for years. The fact that he came out with his ailerons and then his between-the-wings moveable surface only after the Wright Flyer was unveiled made it clear that he had copied, not created. The Wright's patent was, properly, upheld.

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Thank you all very much for putting up with me.  ...  Andrew, sorry for giving you a hard time, but I always will.

I'm used to it, Alex, you are my roomate afterall. My interest in making sure you get it right is obviously higher than for a complete stranger. Though I must admit, you can be exhausting to argue with.

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No, this case illustrates precisely what inventors are up against.

Here is claim 1 of the Wright patent:

What the Wrights had invented was the concept of using a variable-incidence surface to provide for roll control, said control proving to be crucial to the feasibility of a flying machine.

The Wright Brothers' legal coup was to attain a patent not on a device for lateral control but on the idea of lateral control. As one observer said, this was the equivalent of claiming the idea of roundness in a tire patent.

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The Wright Brothers' legal coup was to attain a patent not on a device for lateral control but on the idea of lateral control. As one observer said, this was the equivalent of claiming the idea of roundness in a tire patent.
Not true. The idea of lateral control was not new. Previous attempts at lateral control included such things as shifting weight from side to side and using rudders to induce yaw, both of which work, just not very well. The Wright patent did not cover such things, so it cannot be said to be a patent on the idea of lateral control.

A variable-incidence, movable surface is a device.

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